INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A new curfew for unaccompanied children went into effect Friday in Independence, including the Independence Center shopping mall and surrounding business districts on either side of Interstate 70.
The curfew, which forbids anyone under 18 years old to be unaccompanied in the area from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., is a joint effort by the city, Independence Police Department and businesses to head of potential trouble in the area.
The Independence City Council approved an ordinance establishing the curfew Monday.
Independence Police Chief Brad Halsey said his department has responded to incidents at various businesses, restaurants, entertainment venues, parking lots and shopping areas where minors have caused disturbances.
"This has diverted police attention from other areas of the community requiring additional presence to protect the patrons and businesses in this area," Halsey said in a statement.
Police said they've seen an uptick in such incidents this year and hope the curfew will help reduce them during the holiday shopping season.
The curfew impacts the area between U.S. 40 to the south, East 39th Street to the north, Little Blue Parkway to the east and Missouri 291 to the west.
It also includes all public and private businesses directly accessed by Bass Pro Drive, which is located west of Missouri 291.
The curfew locations include public streets, public grounds, public buildings, amusement places, dining places, vacant places and retail stores.
Andrew Phelps, the general manager of Get Air Trampoline Park, said he understands the need for the curfew.
"I know they spent a lot of time thinking about what the right things are to do, and I trust our local government that they are the doing what they think is best," he said.
Phelps said his business will now let parents and minors know upon arrival that they need to be accompanied by an adult after 9 p.m.
Brandon Treece, a parent, said he's fine with the curfew.
"If you're under 18 and you're out after 9 p.m., I don't know if you're going to be doing anything productive," he said.
Independence said the curfew will be enforced and the parents of unaccompanied minors will be issued citations.
The ordinance defines minors as anyone under 18 years old, but exceptions are made for minors who are in public going home from a school activity, recreational event, dance, concert or work or who have been given an emergency errand directed by his or her parent or guardian.
Signs explaining the curfew will be installed throughout the district and there will be an increased police presence in the area.
Phelps said he is happy to make additional changes to his business if it means the community is safer.
"This is just one more thing, but it's nothing we can't handle," Phelps said.